If there’s one thing we geeks love to do, it’s wax theoretical on all the things that could have been or should yet be involving our favorite characters or properties. Whether an unseen final season or a never-produced line of action figures, we want them. Now. Make it so!
Atomic Robo is made of awesome. There’s no denying that. I only got on the bandwagon recently, but it quickly became one of my favorite comic series. It’s just so damn much fun, and obviously a labor of love by creators Brian Clevinger & Scott Wegener. There’s just one thing it’s lacking, and that’s a bigger audience. A lot of comic readers might have not even heard of Robo and his exploits, while others just haven’t taken the time to check it out. When describing it to potential readers, my usual pitch is “It’s kind of like Hellboy, only with science instead of magic, and a lot more humor.” And while I would be ecstatic with a live-action film adaptation, as it stands the series itself is perfectly suited to an animated series format.
Here’s a quick rundown for the uninitiated. Atomic Robo is a fully autonomous robot build by Nikola Tesla in 1923. Still in peak form today, he’s the head of Tesladyne Industries, ”a thinktank dedicated to exploring the fringes of scientific inquiry” staffed with Action Scientists who bravely explore the scientific unknown, some braver than others. One of his chief operatives is the uber-badassed one-name-only Jenkins, whose skills are so excessive that Robo is sometimes jokingly referred to as his sidekick. Over the course of his adventures, Robo has made many enemies, most notably a villainous Thomas Edison (who recently returned from the dead as a spirit dubbed Thomas Und-Edison) and the megalomaniacal Dr. Dinosaur, a genius dromaeosaur (so obviously not a raptor) who claims to have traveled through time using crystals and seems to continuously escape an exasperated Robo. Seriously, the interplay between him & Dr. Dinosaur is some of the funniest stuff I have ever read.
Ideally, Atomic Robo: The Animated Series would air on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim block. It’s just a personal opinion, but I think it would work best with a runtime of 15-minute episodes. While season-long storyline is doable, Robo’s long personal history means that episodes can also jump around in time, from present day to Robo’s formative years in the ’20s/’30s to his World War II exploits and back again. Robo would obviously be the main character, with Tesla around in flashbacks and Jenkins (Voiced by Adam Baldwin. Pretty please?) and other Action Scientists filling out the supporting cast, and Edison & Dr. Dinosaur as two recurring villains. For the pilot, I humbly suggest a straight up adaptation of “Bernard’s Big Day,” the lead story from Atomic Robo and the Revenge of the Vampire Dimension #1. It not only serves as a great newcomer’s view to Robo and his world (“They’re not literally vampires. Sunlight, garlic, crosses, none of that applies. But we call them vampires because they’re ageless super strong monsters that feed on the blood of the living.”) and, personally, contains one of my favorite Robo lines. (“We’re not trapped in here with them. They’re trapped in here with Jenkins.”) Please, somebody make this happen.